Australia Poll on Human Cloning Differs Greatly From Last Survey

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 23, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Poll on Human Cloning Differs Greatly From Last Survey Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 23
, 2006

Canberra, Australia ( — A new poll claims that a strong majority of Australians support using human cloning for research purposes. The poll comes as the nation’s parliament is considering ditching its law banning all human cloning and allowing the artificial creation and destruction of human life for scientific studies.

The polling firm Research Australia conducted the survey on the Internet and claims 58 percent of Australians back human cloning for research. The survey included 802 participants.

If the results are authentic, the survey still indicates a drop of 14 percent from the last online poll the firm conducted showing 72 percent backing human cloning.

The new survey claims that just 20 percent of Australians oppose research cloning while the rest are undecided.

The results of the online poll differ greatly from an August survey showing a majority of Australians oppose human cloning.

That survey of 1,200 people, conducted by Sexton Marketing, found 51 percent of Australians opposed human cloning, 30 percent supported it and 12 percent had no opinion on the issue.

The new survey also shows that two-thirds of those polled believe that the use of adult stem cells for research is just as effective as using embryonic cells.

But the August poll found ten times more Australians prefer adult stem cell research to studies involving embryonic stem cells.

Assuming each type of research brought equal benefits to patients, 40 percent preferred using adult stem cells and just 4 percent preferred using embryonic stem cell research, according to the August poll. Some 51 percent had no preference.

The Sexton poll also found that 48 percent of those surveyed would change the way they vote in the next election depending on how their local MPs stood on the issue of human cloning.

Next week the Australia House will consider a Senate-approved bill that would legalize some human cloning.

Australia was criticized in November 2004 for changing its position to support a U.S.-backed proposal at the United Nations calling for a ban on all forms of human cloning. Prime Minister John Howard’s government quietly changed its position to support a coalition of 60 nations, led by the United States and Costa Rica.

In 2003, Australia opposed the treaty and supported a competing proposal pushed by a Belgium and a smaller group of nations to allow human cloning for research.